September 2023 Newsletter
by Pastor Mike Novotny
In 2022 as I toured the ancient ruins of Capernaum in northern Israel, I noticed what happens when a “little” problem goes uncorrected.
The fourth-century synagogue of Capernaum was built on top of a previous synagogue, but the builders laid the first stone just a touch out of alignment. It’s barely noticeable at the start, but by the time you reach the far corner, there is a gaping ledge, nearly 12 inches wide, proving what a big difference a “little” miscalculation can make.
That construction error reminds me of too many relationships I know. Few, if any, couples go into their marriage with the goal of feeling miles apart a few years/kids down the road. Yet too many couples end up exactly like that. How? By forgetting that “little” problems will naturally turn into big issues over time.
The “little” problem might be that one or both spouses are way too busy with work, the yard, softball, book club, church commitments, fancy birthday parties, and being a part-time (unpaid!) Uber driver for a dozen kids’ commitments.
The “big” issue is when a busy schedule robs a couple of the time and energy to do the things that make your spouse feel appreciated, loved, desired, and prioritized. Over enough time, spouses grow bitter when they feel that youth soccer, golf league, or the garden gets more attention than the vows that were spoken.
Have you been there? Do you love someone who is there? If so, what should you do?
- Run to Jesus—“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2). Jesus covered up every marriage mistake and relational sin when he shed his blood on a cross. Take your guilt to Calvary and leave it there.
- Ask the question—If you’re married, ask your spouse what two or three things would make them feel more loved than ever before.
- Ask God for strength—Ask your heavenly Father, who personally loves your marriage, to give you strength to love your spouse well and not to feel guilty about prioritizing your relationship.
God rejoices over happy, holy homes. May he guide us all to find forgiveness and increase our love in Jesus.
Your support of Time of Grace helps shine the light of God’s love and forgiveness into the dark places in people’s lives. When they learn of their Savior, they see that the way through their struggles is him.
You touch lives like Allison, who shares,
“It’s been a rough year with a lot of struggles, and I am battling with a lot of anxiety and depression. I have relistened to several of Pastor Mike’s sermons, and I now find I look forward to my Monday morning commutes to work to listen to what he has to teach me next. Though I still feel like I am in a period of doubt and some darkness, I know God will see me through.”
Thank you for helping people like Allison find their hope and strength in Jesus. Your partnership changes lives, and we can’t thank you enough!
Make your marriage healthy, happy, and holy!
Marriage is hard, especially in today’s culture. In fact, 93 percent of pastors report counseling couples in relational crisis.
But God wants so much better for you!
Whether you’re struggling in your marriage, preparing for marriage, or picking up the pieces of one already shattered, God’s Blueprint for a Happy Home offers you comfort, wisdom, and hope for the road you’re on.
Filled with biblical insight on God’s design for marriage, this resource from Pastor Mike Novotny shows you:
- What marriage means.
- How marriage works best.
- Why marriages break.
God’s Blueprint for a Happy Home is our thanks for your gift to help more people find hope in God’s love and truth through Time of Grace. So request your copy today—and thank you for your generosity!
Little Things with Amber Albee Swenson
Here’s what a listener had to say about this podcast: “Recently, I found Amber—wow! I love her podcasts: humbleness, kindness, frankness, and caring spirit. Together—they make a great combination.” Listen to Little Things on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your favorite podcasts!
Get equipped to share your faith with confidence
Do you want to share Jesus with others in a simple way but aren’t sure how? We have a great tool for you called Bible Breath. It’s Bible 101 wrapped up in fun, easy-to-watch videos. With more than 30 videos and counting, Bible Breath equips you with the basics of your faith so you can share it confidently with others.
Coming up on Time of Grace
Tune in to Time of Grace in October for a new series called Screens & Souls. The average person on planet Earth spends seven hours staring at a screen each day. That means that most living humans use devices more than they eat and play and almost as much as they work and sleep. What effect do our digital habits have on our souls? What wisdom guides us as we seek to leverage advances in technology without compromising our connection to God? This series thinks critically about our spiritual lives in this screen-filled age. Tune in to watch Screens & Souls on TV or online!
The first episode of Screens & Souls is available to watch on October 8 with new episodes released each Sunday in October.
Q&A with Pastor Mike Novotny
What are some practical ways that you and your wife have maintained a happy home throughout the seasons of your life so far?
Ultimately, it comes down to “you first,” which is one of our official family values. When we both strive to put each other first, everyone seems to end up happy.
Talk every day, date every week, plan something special every quarter, and vacation every year. We don’t always reach that ideal schedule, which we learned from a pastor years ago, but our marriage seems to get stronger and stronger as we get closer and closer.
I’m not sure if anyone on Earth has forgiven me more than my wife, Kim.
(I was going to say my mother and father, but I’ve been with Kim even longer!)
As deeply as I love her and as much as I value putting her first, my sinful nature messes up my plans all the time. Too often I bring my frustrations home from work or stubbornly defend my own opinion (like the “best” way to wash the dishes) or believe, in the midst of a heated disagreement, that I’m the better spouse who is trying harder and sacrificing more.
I’m not proud of that, but marriage has a way of exposing our selfishness and showing us just how much we prefer to be first.
That’s why Kim and I are so grateful not just to have a marriage but to have a Christian marriage. We are two sinners who share one amazing Savior, and we can’t imagine loving each other and raising our daughters without the patience, grace, and continual mercy of our Jesus. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 2:2).
At Time of Grace, we strive to keep Christ at the center of all that we do so that his forgiving love can cover up the failures of every part of our lives, relationships included.
That’s why I’m so grateful that you support our gospel-focused ministry. Marriage is hard, but your prayers and financial gifts help us to bless couples with the blueprint of God’s Word and with the comfort of the cross.
Thank you for helping us serve singles, couples, and families with the one thing they need the most—the grace of our God.